Yesterday i found myself facing Blogger’s Block.

i mean is that even a thing? i know ‘Writer’s Block’ is a thing and so surely it must be.

Anyways, i decided to turn to the Twitterer and share my dilemma and ask for topics to write on and a few really good ones came in. So i thought i would dedicate this week’s bloggering to picking topics that others have chosen for me and writing on them here.

The Importance of Forgiveness

‘Forgiving with love : why its important to us who need to forgive.’

The SHE in Shenanigans @TarotQueen76

Let me try keep this as brief as possible because this is such an important topic but i have given it a lot of thought through the years.

[1] Forgiveness does not mean what the person did to you was okay.

A lot of people approach Forgiveness with skepticism as if this was the case. “If I forgive them, I am condoning what they did.” Absolutely not. The way i see it, Forgiveness is an acknowledgment of the wrong that was done and the hurt caused, but the refusal to continue to actively hold it against that person. 

If what they did was okay, there would be no need to forgive. The starting point is: What you did was not okay!

[2] Forgive and Forget is not a helpful thing. 

People often throw out ‘Forgive and forget’ as if it was possible. And depending on the infraction, for smaller ones it may be. You scratching my car is something i will likely get over. You killing my friend is not going to be forgotten, ever.

Rather, is it the thing i mentioned of refusing to actively hold it against you. This goes hand in hand with the idea that if something needs forgiveness then there are likely consequences attached. Forgiveness does not mean you don’t hold the consequences of the wrong thing you did, but it does mean that in addition to that you don’t have me holding it against you forever.

To me, Forgiveness is actually a lot more powerful of a force if i DO remember what you did. It’s not like Forgiveness brings with it instant amnesia and i can no longer bring to mind the action you took or the words you spoke. You did something that caused pain and although i can recall the thing, i choose to treat you to some extent as if that thing had not happened.

[3] Forgiveness is something that i do as much for me as it is for you. 

This is probably the one that speaks most directly to the original ask. Why is it important for those of us who need to forgive?

My best friend Rob had this analogy which made this so clear to me, as a follower of Jesus. But you can adjust it to suit your belief system.

The idea was that if you did something to me it is as if a piece of fishing gut with two hooks attached to it connected the two of us. Digging into both of our flesh. What you did that requires forgiveness will cause hurt and anger and bitterness in me and will continue to mess both of us up until it is dealt with. As a Christian the way out of this would be to remove the hook from my skin and hand it to God. So it doesn’t exonerate the person who hurt me – they still need to deal with God on their behaviour. But what it does is it prevents the hook from doing any further damage in me.

Another analogy that i love which deals more specifically with bitterness, but is related to Forgiveness. ‘Unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison and hoping the other person will die.’ That’s what it sometimes feels like when you refuse to forgive someone as if you are somehow getting them back. But often they aren’t even aware that they hurt you or it isn’t bothering them at all. Forgiveness frees us up from being trapped by another person’s words or actions. 

[4] Forgiveness paves the way for restored relationship. The ultimate hope when someone has caused you pain is that Forgiveness will be the bridge that brings you together again. Without Forgiveness there is very little hope for reunion. It doesn’t always mean you will end up with the same level of friendship and intimacy that you had before – largely depending on the size of the hurt – and that’s okay. But sometimes it will mean that things can move even beyond where they were before. Forgiveness is a powerful act.

Those are four key aspects of Forgiveness that come to me – can you think of any others? i guess the last one i would add to all of that is this:

[5] Forgiveness is an every day action. Again, this probably relates to the size or extent of the hurt. The smaller it is, the more likely you will be able to move on quickly. But if it is something much bigger that involves violence or abuse or sexual trauma or even death, then the likelihood is that every morning when you wake up you have to make the decision to forgive again. So Forgiveness becomes an ongoing act rather than a quick once-off. This is also super powerful – the idea that someone coould ever forgive a rapist or murderer [remembering that at the same time there are consequences to their actions which will likely be prison in this case] and while it may se that Forgiveness is largely for the person who committed the offence, so much of it is actually for the wellbeing of the person who was hurt. So that they may be freed of bitterness and anger and thoughts of revenge which act like a deadly poison, slowly killing you from the inside.

Thank you, The SHE in Shenanigans, for such a great topic, i hope you found this helpful… see you for another Blogger’s Block piece, tomorrow.

[To read the piece i wrote on Problematic Family Members, click here]